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Thread: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

  1. #11
    Educator BulletWounD's Avatar
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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernDemocrat View Post
    13 billion is only a drop in the bucket compared to what the eventual costs would be for a nationwide high-speed rail project.

    I think the money would be far better invested as a federal grant program for light rail and commuter rail system in major metros. We have a lot of cities that lack commuter rail systems and that would be far more viable then putting in a high speed rail system from say LA to Chicago.
    That's really outside the scope of the Federal Government. The denizens of these cities need to take it up with their local governments. The rail systems Obama is proposing will be used for transporting both passengers and logistical supplies over long distances. It could actually be very beneficial to our overall economy.
    Last edited by BulletWounD; 04-16-09 at 07:42 PM.

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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    Quote Originally Posted by new coup for you View Post
    The Acella is a joke, it's not comparable.
    What in particular?

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteEU View Post
    Lame excuse... REALLY lame excuse.

    First off, high-speed trains go from major population center to major population center. They do not stop at every small town along the route.. would kinda be against the "high speed" principle if they stop every 20 miles.

    Secondly, no one is saying that you should put a high speed train from New York to LA.. that would be insane. High speed rail networks are only logical within relative short distances (several 100 miles) or less.

    Lets put this into perspective. (Distances are in a straight line)

    New York to Washington. Distance is about 220 miles.

    Madrid to Malaga (near me). Distance is about 255 miles. Has high speed train.. takes 2:30 hours from city center to city center. Goes through mountains btw.. so that is not an excuse. And the reason it takes so long, is that it also stops at 2 other major cities along the line. If I go to Cordaba (the first stop on the line) which is 100 miles away, I can get there in 45 min and be right in the center of the city.
    Wow, that's amazing. And if you had read my posts, you would have seen that I already talked about this exact thing. We already have high speed rail between NY and Washington that takes 2:52. It doesn't make money.

    As I said, distance and geography is a lame ass excuse. If the French can do Paris to Marsellie (in fact Brussels to Marsellie which is almost 530 miles in a straight line) over mountains, then I think the Americans can make a high speed train from New York to Washington or Boston to Washington.. I mean come on..
    It's not that we can't build it - we already have it. It's that it's not financially viable, in no small part because of...wait for it...the fact that the US is far larger and less dense than countries like France or Japan.

    Now mentality is a very valid excuse in the US, being a car nut nation. But there is no denying that high speed trains if done right are hugely successful.
    You realize that not every business can be "done right" in every setting, right?

    If we go back to where I live. The main city in the area Malaga got its high speed connection about 2 years ago. With in the first year of the operation, the connection had taken 80% of the traffic from the airlines flying from Malaga to Madrid. Why? Because it was faster. If you count in the time for getting to the airport, check in, flying, getting bags and driving from the airport to the city, the trip is freakishly long compared to a train. This goes for just about any major city in the world even in the US.
    Again, already we have this. It's not profitable.

    So yes, high speed trains on medium distances is a sensible investment and profitable one at that. Btw the Euro/Japanese high speed requirements (to be called highspeed) is over 200 km/hour minimum on existing tracks or 250km/hour on new tracks. Most go 300km/hour or over.
    Unless shortening the travel time between NY and DC by 20 minutes will suddenly cause millions of people to change their minds about travel, I doubt it's the speed that's the root of the problem.
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    Quote Originally Posted by BulletWounD View Post
    I think the plan is for the operators to be privately owned and operated while building the overall system will be funded by grants. It's not actually too bad of an idea in theory. It's more in line with what the federal government should be doing (interstate transportation networks) as opposed to bailing out banks, corporate welfare, and that sort of thing. The only problem is if it ends up a publicly owned waste of money like Amtrak. I rode an Amtrak train once, what a disaster. MORE expensive than taking a plane, WAY longer trip punctuated with stops, and the food cost a bloody fortune ($10.00 for a microwavable hamburger). Never again...
    I'm flexible - if they could prove that even the operation alone would be profitable, I wouldn't be opposed to at least partial public funding for the construction. The reason why I don't think that will work is exactly what you mentioned. Did you know that even as terrible and expensive as Amtrak's food is, they still lose money on each item you purchase? And not a few cents either - it costs them 2X the price things sell for. Hilarious.
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

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    Educator BulletWounD's Avatar
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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    I'm flexible - if they could prove that even the operation alone would be profitable, I wouldn't be opposed to at least partial public funding for the construction. The reason why I don't think that will work is exactly what you mentioned. Did you know that even as terrible and expensive as Amtrak's food is, they still lose money on each item you purchase? And not a few cents either - it costs them 2X the price things sell for. Hilarious.
    Ah yes, but what about the operators who operate within the realm of logistics and shipping? They're still out there turning a profit although the industry is suffering due to the benefits of air transportation (reduced overhead). If we could create an alternative that's cheaper, not dependent on oil, and offers the lower overhead of rapid air-based transportation, then there could be substantial cost savings in the long term as well as reduced dependence on foreign oil.

    And I'm not going to rule out the idea that civil transportation on the high speed rails wouldn't be profitable either. It could be, especially as we get closer to "peak oil" (are we there yet?) and consumers start to see a substantial cost savings.

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    Why so serious?

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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    We already have a high speed transit system in the US...they're called "airplanes".
    "I believe in a Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the harmony of all that exists, but not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and actions of human beings."

    --Albert Einstein, 1929

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    Educator BulletWounD's Avatar
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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    Quote Originally Posted by Moon View Post
    We already have a high speed transit system in the US...they're called "airplanes".
    Did you know that the Federal Government spent $15 billion on the FAA last year? Just something to think about when you look at this proposal...

  7. #17
    Why so serious?

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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    Quote Originally Posted by BulletWounD View Post
    Did you know that the Federal Government spent $15 billion on the FAA last year? Just something to think about when you look at this proposal...
    That should make the pro-regulation folks happy, however, it's not the same as the government investing more money in a railroad.
    "I believe in a Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the harmony of all that exists, but not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and actions of human beings."

    --Albert Einstein, 1929

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    Educator BulletWounD's Avatar
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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    Quote Originally Posted by Moon View Post
    That should make the pro-regulation folks happy, however, it's not the same as the government investing more money in a railroad.
    Why not? FAA spending doesn't just go to regulation... The bulk of the money seems to go to running the ATC systems.

    Air Traffic Organization: The FY 2009 budget requests $9.7 billion for the Air Traffic Organization (ATO) account. This account provides funds for the operation, maintenance, communications, and logistical support of the air traffic control and air navigation systems.
    Budget in Brief - FY 2009

    I think Obama's high-speed rail network is a damn good idea and I'm sticking to it.
    Last edited by BulletWounD; 04-16-09 at 09:20 PM.

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    Why so serious?

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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    Quote Originally Posted by BulletWounD View Post
    Why not? FAA spending doesn't just go to regulation...

    Budget in Brief - FY 2009

    I think Obama's high-speed rail network is a damn good idea and I'm sticking to it.
    Amtrak has been a loser for 30+ years. Just because Obama wants to throw more money into that black hole, that doesn't make it a good idea.
    "I believe in a Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the harmony of all that exists, but not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and actions of human beings."

    --Albert Einstein, 1929

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    Educator BulletWounD's Avatar
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    Re: Fed to invest $13 billion in nationwide high-speed rail project

    Quote Originally Posted by Moon View Post
    Amtrak has been a loser for 30+ years. Just because Obama wants to throw more money into that black hole, that doesn't make it a good idea.
    Yeah, I don't understand the Amtrak funding. That "company" needs to die.

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